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Thread: When do front strut mounts & pad / perches go bad?

  1. #1
    E500E Guru RicardoD's Avatar
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    When do front strut mounts & pad / perches go bad?

    Changed my rear SLS struts and carrier bushing and rear suspension is great now. That got me thinking about my front suspension. I just bought a spring compressor (thanks Ntrepid!) with the idea that I could change my front strut mounts / pads.

    My understanding is that front struts rarely fail. My car has 172k miles on it now and wondering if the front strut mounts / pad is just a cosmetic inspection? They look great (California car) but wondering if replacing them would make a difference.

    I see Gerry's excellent HOW-To here on this:
    https://www.500eboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4074
    RicardoD
    1990 964 C4 / 1991 964 C2 tip
    1994 E500
    1991 560SEC
    2014 E350 for wife

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    Re: When do front strut mounts & pad / perches go bad?

    I'd change your upper strut mounts as they do crack, and this is generally apparent with a visual inspection. You will see outside cracks if they are pretty shot. If they go long enough, the failure can be catastrophic. They are not horrible to replace, but I'd definitely say that if you don't have record of it being done, and your cars has 172K on it, they are past due just due to age and wear. Who wants 25 year old rubber in their suspension?!?

    Some people seem to like the Meyle HD units (supposedly beefed up design, but they still use Harbor Fright factory rubber rather than European rubber) and swear by them. I use MB factory units. They have gotten more expensive in recent years, currently a bit over $100 apiece IIRC, though you can probably get them cheaper from MBOEMPARTS.COM and the like. By comparison, the Meyle HDs are around $20-25 each, and URO strut mounts are under $20.

    So, you get what you pay for. Don't cheap out on this one.

    The spring pads generally never wear out from what I see. I'm still on my original front struts at almost 140K miles on my car, and they seem to be fine and not leaking, and damping OK. I have changed out the rear hydro-legs (there's a HOW-TO on that). I should take my own advice and probably just order new front struts just because mine are old. I did the fronts and rears on the SEC....though the SEC uses old-skool shocks vs. struts on the 124. Different design/concept.

    There's pretty much zero chance of spring perch damage on an E500E, unless the car has been driven extensively in winter and has rust elsewhere. If you had a W210, then I'd tell you to be watching the spring perches very closely, but the W124s only seem to go bad with the perches about 20% as much as the W210s do. And that's quite often if there's rust apparent elsewhere on the car as a give-away.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

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    Senior Member S70/2's Avatar
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    Re: When do front strut mounts & pad / perches go bad?

    I’ve see some very poor condition spring pads out here in Arizona, also saw a 300d where the mount completely failed and the strut went through the hood (!). Replace all the rubber parts with the struts and be good for another 100k

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    Re: When do front strut mounts & pad / perches go bad?

    If your going to go to that much effort, you inspect the lwr ball joint boots.

    Struts may not fail, but I'd you might feel a noticeable difference w/ new ones. Is all the hydro stuff original?

    Michael

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    Re: When do front strut mounts & pad / perches go bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by S70/2 View Post
    I’ve see some very poor condition spring pads out here in Arizona, also saw a 300d where the mount completely failed and the strut went through the hood (!). Replace all the rubber parts with the struts and be good for another 100k
    Exactly .... extreme examples of the catastrophic failure I mentioned. Didn't want to freak out ol' Ricardo too much with a graphic description, but what the hey...

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    Senior Member S70/2's Avatar
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    Re: When do front strut mounts & pad / perches go bad?

    I should have mentioned this was also a $400 300d that was used as a farm tractor for 15+ years, not a common example

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    E500E Guru RicardoD's Avatar
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    Re: When do front strut mounts & pad / perches go bad?

    I have a front brake job to do, perhaps rotors, and will use that time on the lift to inspect the suspension bits and decide if anything needs to get replaced by visual inspection.
    RicardoD
    1990 964 C4 / 1991 964 C2 tip
    1994 E500
    1991 560SEC
    2014 E350 for wife

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    Re: When do front strut mounts & pad / perches go bad?

    Ricardo, how old are your front LCA's, and the steering components (tie rod assemblies, drag link, idler arm bushings)?

    Most front-end work requires a dealer alignment afterwards, and given the cost of alignment, it often ends up worth replacing everything at the same time so you only shell out for 1 alignment, and don't have to worry about the front end for 100kmi+ like S70/2 mentioned above.

    Also see if your front struts are correct for the .036 (OE MB, Sachs, yellow #9 would be originals) and not some aftermarket struts. And eyeball the foam strut stop buffer... and the accordion dust boots.

    If everything looks good, is tight, and/or semi-recent... you could delay the front end work for quite a while.


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    E500E Guru nocfn's Avatar
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    Re: When do front strut mounts & pad / perches go bad?

    Ricardo - i changed everything on the front suspension, and mb units. I have the lca in the climate controlled storage unit as they were still good bushings and balljoint boots.

    Fyi, you will wonder if the car is running if your tach should go out....at 50mph
    1994 E500
    249/275 - 8F19 or 8F32 or 8320

    1991 560 SEC
    199/268
    2014 E350 Cab 799/264

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    E500E Guru RicardoD's Avatar
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    Re: When do front strut mounts & pad / perches go bad?

    Boy, you guys sure like to spend my money! But yes, I do want to setup the car for another 100k miles as my daily driver. So a carefully examination of front suspension components and my records are in order.

    EDIT: Record check shows all original front suspension components except steering damper which I had changed. Previous records show rear suspension work and my front rotors are new @142k miles (now at 172k miles so only changing pads this weekend).

    8/17/2009 115,039 Mobil 1 oil & filter change
    Replace right rear suspension link & bolt kit
    210-350-38-06 & 210-350-45-06
    Alignment
    3/30/2010 119,578 replace left rear trailing link
    210-350-38-06 & 210-350-45-06
    replace rear shifter bushing 115-992-03-10
    oil & filter change
    climate control fuse blown and changed
    11/17/2017 @ 164k miles, steering damper was changed when engine out, that made big difference. 124-463-04-32
    Last edited by RicardoD; 07-11-2018 at 11:04 PM.
    RicardoD
    1990 964 C4 / 1991 964 C2 tip
    1994 E500
    1991 560SEC
    2014 E350 for wife

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    E500E Guru nocfn's Avatar
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    Re: When do front strut mounts & pad / perches go bad?

    If you are doing the rest of the tie rods and such be sure to do the idler arm bushing, and its around $110 - ish from MB, but don't be fooled into thinking it is ok. If it is original, it is shot inside that tube, and contributes to many vague noises, alignment vibrations etc. This is most likely a one and done change, and can be a bit finicky to install. My issue was getting the nut off - sadly the dremel had to assist me on that fat hardened steel (wear eye protection and a simple mask)

    If you do your brakes - remove the speed sensors and clean out the garbage inside and on the unit. Caked with brake grime no doubt. All of that is brittle so mind the existing bends in the cables.
    1994 E500
    249/275 - 8F19 or 8F32 or 8320

    1991 560 SEC
    199/268
    2014 E350 Cab 799/264

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